If you have adrenal fatigue, then you know what a profound impact the condition can have on your quality of life. Not only do adrenal fatigue patients suffer frequent exhaustion, but they also endure anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and bouts of brain fogginess that affect their ability to work and participate in activities they enjoy. If these symptoms sound familiar, you’re likely wondering how to recover from adrenal fatigue and start living your life optimally again.
From lifestyle and dietary changes to amino acid adrenal support, there are multiple ways for patients to reverse the effects of adrenal fatigue and boost wellness. The first step, though, is understanding what causes adrenal fatigue and determining if you could be suffering from the condition.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Although adrenal fatigue has appeared in the medical literature for over 100 years, doctors are just starting to acknowledge the ways in which this condition affects patients’ lives. According to a 2014 article in Advances in Integrative Medicine, adrenal fatigue is a stress disorder that causes serious fatigue, particularly in the mornings. Sufferers also experience mid-morning energy “lows,” as well as “lows” between 2 pm and 5 pm. Many rebound in the evening, experiencing improved energy after dinner and late at night.
Adrenal fatigue is believed to result from a problem with the adrenal glands. Walnut-shaped organs located above the kidneys, the adrenal glands produce stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Because cortisol helps regulate the sleep cycle, keeping people awake in the mornings and declining over the course of the day, individuals who are deficient in cortisol are likely to experience symptoms like daytime fatigue and nighttime insomnia.
While there’s no one cause of adrenal fatigue, the Advances in Integrative Medicine study found that the condition most commonly occurs as a result of chronic or severe stress. The study authors further determined that many adrenal fatigue patients had experienced a traumatic event such as a major motor vehicle accident, divorce, job loss, or emotional trauma.
Over time, patients who are under chronic stress may experience a problem in which the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis becomes incapable of producing the adrenal hormones and metabolic energy the body needs to function. These individuals may suffer adrenal exhaustion and eventual whole-body burnout, said David Jockers DNM, DC, MS, a doctor of natural medicine, functional nutritionist, and corrective care chiropractor. The owner of Exodus Health Center and founder of the site DrJockers, he has written extensively on the topic of adrenal fatigue. He further notes that the following lifestyle factors and events can affect the natural rest and adaptation cycles and trigger adrenal fatigue:
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Gut inflammation and food allergies
- Autoimmune conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
The idea that nutritional deficiencies can affect stress and mental health is not a new one. According to a 2008 study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, nutritional factors have a significant effect on cognition, behavior, and emotions. Further, the most common nutritional deficiencies observed in mentally ill patients are of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. In light of this research, it’s not surprising that medical professionals are beginning to see the positive effect that amino acids can have on adrenal fatigue.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue with Amino Acids
The world leader in amino acid research and product development, the Amino Co. boasts more than three decades of research experience at top universities worldwide. The company’s scientists pride themselves on having performed extensive clinical trials on amino acids and their effects on various health conditions, including adrenal fatigue.
Research shows that amino acid adrenal support could be a crucial component of any restorative program for adrenal fatigue. According to the website Amino Acid Therapy, patients with adrenal problems often rely on cortisol to relieve their symptoms. However, incorporating amino acids into the treatment protocol can optimize the whole dopamine to epinephrine pathway. As serotonin and dopamine levels stabilize, norepinephrine levels and epinephrine levels can follow suit.
Although scientists are familiar with more than 300 different amino acids, just 20 are incorporated into body proteins and nine are considered “essential amino acids,” because the body does not synthesize them. By taking dietary supplements of essential amino acids, you can achieve health benefits not realizable from diet alone. Normalization of the precursors for the balanced production of the brain neurotransmitters is one such benefit. Decreased inflammation and improved muscle function are other benefits of essential amino acid supplementation that will help to lessen the debilitating effects of adrenal fatigue.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue
If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, it’s important to seek immediate help from a qualified medical professional. Left untreated, an overproduction of adrenal hormones due to stress can have a significant effect on the body. Because adrenal hormones impact the production of white blood cells, adrenal fatigue can result in a weakened immune system and a reduced ability to fight off foreign invaders. Further, adrenal dysfunction can result in feelings of anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks. Seeking medical attention is the best way to avoid long-term physical and emotional consequences related to your condition.